Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA)

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta

ALMA is an Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) program that addresses the challenges and opportunities facing the Atlanta region’s arts and culture community. It is for leaders who are passionate about the arts and their community’s culture, no matter what their profession. The deadline for the 2020 class will open in August. Please join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the application period!

The program seeks to:

  • Provide leaders with insights from civic leaders as to why the arts are important to them, why they support the arts, and why the arts are important to the future of the region
  • Provide leaders with the tools and knowledge to become informed and powerful advocates for the arts in the Atlanta region
  • Facilitate frank, high-level conversations on policies, problems, and solutions for key arts issues in the region

“I went to [an ARC workshop session on economic competitiveness] today and WOW.  It was great!  ALMA really helped me feel comfortable doing something like that and joining in the conversation.  I feel like what we learned and discussed in ALMA gave me the tools and ignited my passion to participate more in shaping our region.”

Gretchen E. Butler, Serenbe Institute for Arts, Culture and the Environment; 2017 ALMA graduate

Program Details

ALMA meets once a month for five months and features speakers representing the region’s arts, culture, and civic communities. This schedule may also include trips to various cultural events around the region.


  • $700 for employees or owners of private sector businesses and employees of government agencies, or schools.
  • $350 for employees of nonprofits and working, self-employed artists.

2020 ALMA Class Schedule (tentative dates)

  • Kickoff Reception – January 15th, evening
  • January 23rd, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Thursday)
  • February 19th, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Wednesday)
  • March 11th, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Wednesday)
  • April 1st, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Wednesday)
  • April 29th, 8:30am – 5:30pm (Wednesday)

If necessary, there will be a make-up class in June (if, for instance, an early class is snowed out):

  • June 4th, 8:30am – 5:30pm (Wednesday)

NOTE: All classes are held centrally in the metro Atlanta. The schedule may include additional cultural events.

Application Process

Applications are solicited region-wide. Interested individuals apply directly to ARC during the application period. The ARC begins accepting applications each year starting in August/September with a deadline in October. The class is chosen in November and classes begin in January. Check this page for updates on the program including specific deadlines for each year. Or join the mailing list to receive an email when the application is open.

The ALMA Steering Committee is comprised of ARC staff and selected ALMA alumni. Each year the committee seeks to select a diverse group of individuals with regard to ethnicity, gender, geography, profession, community service, and demonstrated leadership. This is a competitive process. If you have questions, email Josh Phillipson at or call 470-378-1522.

ALMA Speakers

Past speakers include:

  • Mayor Shirley Franklin (Former Mayor, City of Atlanta)
  • Lisa Cremin (Director, Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund)
  • Joe Bankoff (Georgia Tech and Chair of the Fulton County Arts Council)
  • Marian Liou (Founder, We Love BuHi)
  • Karen Paty (Executive Director, Georgia Council for the Arts)
  • Shanequa Gay (artist)
  • Tom Key (Executive Artistic Director, Theatrical Outfit)
  • Bem Joiner (President and CEO, Atlanta Influences Everything)
  • Amir Farokhi (City Council, City of Atlanta)
  • Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center)
  • Penny McPhee (President, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation)
  • Carlton Mackey (Director, Ethics & the Arts, Emory University)
  • Josh Jackson (Editor-in-Chief, Paste Magazine)
  • Lain Shakespeare (Corporate Citizenship Director, MailChimp)
  • Makeba Dixon-Hill (Curator of Education, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art)
  • Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre)
  • Senator PK Martin (Georgia Senate)
  • Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission)
  • Julie Rhoad (President, The AIDS Quilt)